RET Board

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The RET Board is Chaired by Karen Lynch

The composition of the Board is: Up to 7 Directors appointed by the Sponsor, 3 Academy Directors (appointed by the Board to reflect the composition of the Trust) and the CEO.

The Board's current directors have experience as: headteachers of outstanding secondary and primary schools (two community, one grant-maintained); senior local government; directors of a successful private-sector company and governors of outstanding schools. The Board is advised by its CEO, CFO and by its external accountants UHY Hacker Young LLP and legal advisers Browne Jacobson.

Karen Lynch (Chair)

Karen was, from 2010 until her retirement in August 2019, the CEO of RET.  In this role she successfully established the infrastructure of RET from scratch and opened our 5 secondary schools, building each of them from Year 7 upwards. The success of RET Schools is reflected in the MAT's position in the 2019 Performance Tables (top 5% of progress nationally and highest overall EBACC attainment in the country).

Karen was before that the Managing Director of Education London (EL).  She is by training a teacher, LA officer, OfSTED inspector and IIP Assessor. She was the EL Project Director for the Department for Education (DfE) London Challenge contract 2003-2011. Under Karen’s leadership EL went from one of five London Challenge school improvement contractors (2003-August 2007) to be selected by the DfE as the Sole Education Services provider for the London Challenge (September 2007 – 2011). The success of this school improvement project has been of significant national and international interest.  Karen has been privileged to work with education professionals all over England and Wales.  

Colin Mackinlay (CEO)

Colin took over the role of CEO in September 2019 on the retirement of Karen Lynch.  First appointed as headteacher in 2002 Colin has had significant educational leadership experience in a range of schools. Most recently, Colin was the founding Headteacher at Turing House School having advised and supported the Turing House Steering Group from the start of the project. Prior to that he was a senior adviser at the Russell Education Trust and Education London and the Principal Education Adviser for Bristol Free School and Becket Keys Church of England School during their establishment and early years and spent a period of time as headteacher at King's School, Hove.

As well as leading schools, Colin became an Ofsted Inspector in 2011 and inspected both primary and secondary schools as well as specialising in the inspection of new schools prior to opening. He was a governor of an Infants school for almost 20 years, latterly being a trustee of a primary multi-academy trust.

John McDermott

John was the headteacher of two highly successful secondary schools in the Midlands and was the headteacher of one of the first grant maintained schools in the country. He is a highly accomplished teacher-trainer and an expert in Performance Management.

Until his retirement he was a Senior Adviser to Education London and part of the senior team, leading the company’s London Challenge contract with the DfE.  He served on the LGB of Bristol Free School from 2011-2017. He is also a director of a local charity, the Birmingham Broad Street Business Improvement District.

Danny Lynch

Danny was the Operations Director for Education London and, in this role, oversaw all school improvement activity undertaken by the Company including its delivery of both the London Challenge and Welsh Challenge school improvement contracts.  Danny spent 25 years in secondary schools, including 9 years as a deputy and headteacher. He completed 8 years as a governor at a local, now judged Outstanding, secondary school.  He is an active member of his church and supporter of a local charity for the homeless.

Mary Karaolis OBE

Mary is a retired Headteacher of The Ravenscroft School Barnet and was awarded an OBE in HM the Queen's 2009 birthday honours list for her services to education. Mary was also a School Improvement Partner and Education Consultant Leader. She continues to be active within Education and her local community. She was Chairman of the London Borough of Barnet Mayor’s Charities Committee and continues to serve on a number of committees in her local authority. She also plays an active part in the Cypriot community including as President of the Association of Rizokarpasso in Britain, Chairman of the Help Rizokarpasso Registered Charity and is an active member of the Secretariat of the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK.  She is a member of the Local Governing Body of St Andrew the Apostle Greek Orthodox School and also a member of the Classical Education Trust.

Clive Brazil

Clive gave up Electronic Engineering in Edinburgh to become a coach of the Scottish Ju Jitsu Team and part time share dealer. Clive moved to Bristol as a single parent to raise his son and pursue charity work. This led to helping start Parents Voice who joined with RET to open Bristol’s first Free School; where he remains Chair of the Students, Curriculum and Standards Committee and Vice Chair of the LGB.

John Chambers

John has spent more than forty years working in various educational roles, mainly in the London area. In that time he has been a teacher and a senior leader in schools and has been an assistant director in a local authority with responsibility for more than twenty secondary schools.

John also qualified as an Ofsted inspector, a threshold assessor and an external adviser for headteacher performance management.

Throughout his career John has been passionate about raising educational standards and improving the life chances for young people. He firmly believes that “children are the messages we send to the future” and adheres firmly to this principle in his work as a director of the Russell Education Trust.

Patricia Taylor

In over 40 years in education, Patricia has taught English in two universities, a college of FE and over one hundred secondary schools. She was also a head teacher and lead inspector before joining Education London as Lead English Adviser in 2007. During the London Challenge project she led a team of English advisers working across London, and later advised and taught in schools across England and Wales.

Patricia then became the lead adviser for English in all RET schools until her retirement in July 2019.

Iain Gunn

Iain has been a Headteacher of a successful Church of England primary school for a number of years.  The school is a national support school and Iain is a National Leader of Education, supporting a number of schools around Essex and London. Since 2008 he has been a SIAMs inspector and in this capacity carries out a number of church school inspections each year.  In 2012 he was involved in the conception and organisation of the opening of the first Church of England free school in the country, Becket Keys, and is very proud to be on the board of governors of this highly successful school.